Fontes warns Lions on female press

July 23, 1991

Coach Wayne Fontes took steps yesterday to ensure that the Detroit Lions don't become involved in a Lisa Olson-type sexual harassment case.

Fontes spoke briefly to the team after LaVeda Jones, a news anchor for radio station WKMF-AM in Flint, Mich., said several players made offensive remarks to her "and said I didn't belong there." She said the remarks were not sexual in nature.

Fontes said he told the players: " 'Remember, this is a business; you have to treat people in the press with respect.' I told them we have a lady press person and they should treat her the way I would, with great respect."

Jones, 26, passed through the locker room Saturday on her way to a conference room where she was to interview two players. A Lions media representative accompanied her.

"Once I got into the meeting room I heard a couple of fellows on the other side of the wall calling me all sorts of names," she said.

"I got pretty upset. I talked to the PR guys and Wayne, and he introduced me to the team [yesterday]. There will be no more problem; there will be no Lisa Olson incident."

Olson, a former reporter for the Boston Herald, was the victim of sexual harassment in the New England Patriots locker room last year.

Jones said she did not know which players made the remarks.

"The Zeke Mowatt stuff is something that can't be tolerated here or

anywhere else," said nose tackle Jerry Ball, referring to one of the players involved in the Olson incident.

* BILLS: Defensive end Bruce Smith underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery, and the team said the prognosis for a speedy recovery is good.

General manager Bill Polian said cartilage chips were removed from Smith's left knee and that the surface of the bone was smoothed. No ligament damage was found.

No one estimated how long Smith will be out, but coach Marv Levy dismissed one published report, attributed to a source close to the team, that the surgery would sideline Smith from six to eight weeks.

Smith's 19 sacks were second-best in the NFL last year.

* BEARS: Jim Harbaugh, who won 10 of his 14 starts at quarterback last season, ended his holdout when he signed for $1.15 million this year and $1.35 million next season. The former No. 1 draft pick made $320,000 last year.

Meanwhile, the club announced that veteran offensive tackle Jim Covert has a ruptured disk that probably will sideline him for the entire 1991 NFL season.

The Bears' starting left tackle since 1983, Covert was voted to the NFL team of the 1980s by Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 1985 and 1986.

* BENGALS: Running back Ickey Woods suffered a knee injury on the first day of contact drills.

Coach Sam Wyche said the initial diagnosis was that Woods had stretched a ligament, but not torn it.

* PACKERS: Veteran safety Mark Murphy could be sidelined for two weeks after separating a shoulder in the first scrimmage.

* COWBOYS: The club welcomed Tony Casillas to training camp with the news that he will be stationed at left tackle, where No. 1 draft pick Russell Maryland also plays.

"We'll put Tony at left tackle where he and Russ can compete," defensive line coach Butch Davis said. "It will be good for the team. We can put a fresh hoss in there all the time. It might even prolong both of their careers."

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